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Car Companies Driving the Retail Experience


Car Companies Driving the Retail Experience

Whether it’s because in these times of political uncertainty, climate change and wars across the globe we are looking for a means to escape, or whether it’s simply because we want an eye-catching, like-able post to put on Instagram, the search for ‘Experience’ continues to drive consumers. Many retailers are thinking about how they can respond to this and one industry fastening their seat belts for the unknown ride ahead is the car industry.

With the development of connective technology, autonomous driving and car sharing initiatives, customers are starting to rethink about their relationship with driving. The younger generation is more concerned about being able to get out and about and enjoy new experiences at a price they can afford and less concerned with brands and owning the latest luxury models, like their parents. Here we take a look at the changes can we see to the traditional forecourt and stereotype car salesman:


As an increasingly urbanised world, Audi chose to place it’s new concept showrooms called ‘Audi City’ in the centre of key capitals around the world: London, Peking, Berlin, Istanbul, Paris and Moscow.  How it works:

  1. Customers are welcomed to the the futurist forecourt where ‘ambassadors’ get to know the customer, their experience and personality. They’re not sales people and they don’t have targets.
  2. They then move through to ‘The Powerwall’ where visitors use touch-screen tables to configure a vehicle, whilst a lifesize image is displayed on 50 m2 of wall space.
  3. The customer then moves through to the private lounge, to ensure a more intimate atmosphere where they finalise the details with highly knowledgeable Audi experts.



Like Audi City, Volkswagen are bringing car sales to the city centre with the shop slap-bang in the middle of the Bullring Birmingham store. The imaginative store features include:

  1. Light boxes next to each vehicle explains the specs and benefits of each model, illuminating facts about the factory and manufacturing processes.
  2. On a digital wall spanning the left-hand side of the store, vignettes of people enjoying their Volkswagen vehicle come to life, along with quotes from car owners, adverts and aggregated social media feeds.
  3. Customers can also build their own car on iPads around a central table, before moving onto a big screen “reveal” of their vehicle. They can then test drive a car from the Bullring centre car park.



Porsche experimented with a pop-up in Liverpool which, for a few months, was designed to immerse visitors in the Porsche brand. How it worked:

  1. Porsche Life featured a living room, kitchen, lounge and home office, with each designed to indicate how visitors‘ lives with Porsche could look.
  2. Although there were Porsche models on display, sales could not be made on site. It was designed to be a meeting point for Porsche enthusiasts and a chance to experience the brand first hand.
  3. British Porsche factory race driver, Nick Tandy, went to support various activities around the pop-up experience on selected dates.



Toyota have changed the idea of a car showroom completely on its head, not just by what you see and experience at the showroom, but also how you can purchase the product. The first ‘Drive and Go’ initiative is located in Japan. How it works:

  1. Customers enter a forest theme cafe with wooden ‘picnic’ furniture where they can enjoy free sandwiches and coffee.
  2. In partnership with a luxury glamping company that’s become popular with young people wanting to escape the city, customers can pick up a car filled with all they equipment they need to make a luxury camping experience.
  3. Once checked in, they need only need to pick up their friends and drive to one of the partnering campsites to complete the glamping experience.


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  1. Pingback: Retail Innovation Hub | The Art of Selling Experiences

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